Title of Abstract

Peers' Perceptions of the Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in the College Setting

Poster Number

55

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Larry B. Fisher, Ph.D.

College

College of Education

Department

Counseling, Leadership and Educational Studies

Abstract

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 provides access to funding for students with intellectual disability (ID) to attend postsecondary educational programs known as Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP). There are over 311 colleges and universities that offer postsecondary programs to individuals with ID (Institute for Community Inclusion, 2022). Many of these programs include opportunities for students to take traditional courses, program-specific specialty courses, and employment-related internships. Most research on CTPs has focused on the perceptions of students enrolled in CTPs and their peer mentors. Research examining how undergraduate students across a campus community perceive CTP programs or notions of this kind of inclusive opportunity is limited. The purpose of this study was to answer the following research questions; (a) how aware are first-year undergraduate students of the CTP, including whether they have taken courses with students from the CTP?, (b) are there differences in perceptions of inclusion and course experiences among students who are aware that they took courses with students from the IPSP compared to those who had not or were unsure if they had taken courses with students from the IPSP?, and (c) what are the perceived benefits of and barriers to an inclusive post-secondary program on a university campus? Purposeful sampling was used to disseminate a 14-item anonymous survey to approximately 120 first-year students. This presentation provides an overview of the data collected from 36 initial respondents. Themes related to the benefits and barriers are presented in addition to research limitations and suggestions for future research.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Peers' Perceptions of the Inclusion of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in the College Setting

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 provides access to funding for students with intellectual disability (ID) to attend postsecondary educational programs known as Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP). There are over 311 colleges and universities that offer postsecondary programs to individuals with ID (Institute for Community Inclusion, 2022). Many of these programs include opportunities for students to take traditional courses, program-specific specialty courses, and employment-related internships. Most research on CTPs has focused on the perceptions of students enrolled in CTPs and their peer mentors. Research examining how undergraduate students across a campus community perceive CTP programs or notions of this kind of inclusive opportunity is limited. The purpose of this study was to answer the following research questions; (a) how aware are first-year undergraduate students of the CTP, including whether they have taken courses with students from the CTP?, (b) are there differences in perceptions of inclusion and course experiences among students who are aware that they took courses with students from the IPSP compared to those who had not or were unsure if they had taken courses with students from the IPSP?, and (c) what are the perceived benefits of and barriers to an inclusive post-secondary program on a university campus? Purposeful sampling was used to disseminate a 14-item anonymous survey to approximately 120 first-year students. This presentation provides an overview of the data collected from 36 initial respondents. Themes related to the benefits and barriers are presented in addition to research limitations and suggestions for future research.